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Even though it may work, operating without a business plan is not a good idea.In fact, very few companies are able to last without one.
There are definitely more benefits to creating and sticking to a business plan including being able to think through ideas without putting too much money into them—and, ultimately, losing in the end.
A good business plan should outline all the costs and the downfalls of each decision a company makes.
These are not mechanisms within planning, but are critical reference points, particularly in modern times when risks of scandal and corporate negligence carry such big implications.
For non-profit and public services organisations, the word 'business' would commonly be substituted by 'service' or a similarly suitable alternative.
Business plans, even among competitors in the same industry, are rarely identical.
But they all tend to have the same elements, including an executive summary of the business and a detailed description of the business, its services and/or products.
Ideally, a company would revisit the plan periodically to see if goals have been met or have changed and evolved.
Sometimes, a new business plan is prepared for an established business that is moving in a new direction.
See the main section on business planning for more detailed business planning templates, tools, examples and processes.
This planning report structure can also be adapted for operational and departmental planning of all sorts - the same principles apply.